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Sep 29, 2012

Rodgers warns Downing and Enrique

Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique are fighting to save their Liverpool careers after manager Brendan Rodgers questioned their attitude.

• Suso set for new deal

Downing has been a major disappointment since arriving from Aston Villa for £20 million in July 2011, with Rodgers suggesting the England winger may have to reinvent himself as a left-back to stay in the team.

Former Newcastle defender Enrique, meanwhile, has seen his form dip alarmingly over the last few months, with Rodgers preferring to play Glen Johnson in the left-back role this season.

Enrique, 26, was set to miss Saturday's Premier League trip to Norwich through injury, while Downing, 28, has been uncertain even of a place in the squad of late, having been left out altogether for the defeat at home to Manchester United last Sunday.

Rodgers was frustrated by the former Villa winger's performance against Young Boys in the Europa League just over a week ago, and there was little sign of improvement at West Brom in the Capital One Cup last Wednesday.

"Stewart is a good guy but it hasn't quite worked out for him as he would want it," Rodgers said in The Guardian. "The big challenge for him now is that commitment to the cause - to fight - because he has the qualities. Talent alone is not enough. You have to work hard. You have to fight for the shirt. I will keep private the discussions Stewart and I have had but he is under no illusion that he has to fight."

Rodgers has delivered the same warning to Enrique, who was responsible for two of the goals Liverpool conceded in their 5-3 win over Young Boys.

"What is important is that you have good communication," the manager added. "I don't waste my time waiting until January to tell both players what I know now. So they know in relation to the demands of what we want and certainly what it is going to take for us to succeed and for them to fit into the dynamics of the group.

"It is about the hunger and desire and that is why you admire big players who stay at the top for as long as they can because it is not just what they are doing in games.

"In order to be like that, that is what they are doing every single day of their life. Look at Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. They are immaculate. It is a way of life and if you prepare yourself right that will ultimately lead to success, but if you are not quite right in your preparation and you come in looking in for an easy life, to pick up your money, it won't be here. We are a club that has to be fighting going forward. I am out there every day, assessing what is going on.

"Status does not matter. It is what you are like as a player. It doesn't matter how much money you have come for. That doesn't matter to me. I will play a 17-year-old if he fights and he has quality. It is quite easy."

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